I recently read a book called So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport. In this book, the author tries to explain the concept of why skills trump passion in the quest for work we love by coming up with four rules to become so good they can’t ignore you. The book also has several case studies as evidence for the defined rules.
Rule 1: Don’t Follow Your Passion
With this rule the author tries to explain the fact that if one believes that they have magical hidden passion waiting to be discovered, they will never be happy with their current job or profession. Book also tries to prove the point that there is very little evidence that many people have a hidden passion waiting to be discovered.
Rule 2: So Good They Can’t Ignore You
This rule tries to emphasize the importance of adopting a craftsman mindset which focuses on what one can offer the world as opposed to a passionate mindset - what the world can offer us. To become a craftsman one should acquire rare and valuable skills which the author calls it as career capital. To acquire career capital one must do deliberate practice.
What is deliberate practice?
Doing things we know how to do well is enjoyable, but that is exactly the opposite of what deliberate practice demands. Deliberate practice is an effort that should make one feel uncomfortable while solving or doing it. In other words it should make them stretch and learn or solve something they really didn’t know well when it was started.
Rule 3: Turn Down a Promotion
Rule 3 explains the power of having control. Control over what one can do and how they do it. Having control over one's work is one of the most important traits when creating work they love. Control cannot be pursued if one does not have rare and valuable skills.
Rule 4: Think Small, Act Big
This rule emphasizes the importance of having a mission so that one can have a unifying focus for their career. Mission can be divided into mini achievable projects.
The main takeaway of the book is:
- Come up with skills that are rare and valuable in your career.
- Become good at them by performing deliberate practice on a regular basis.
So, do you do deliberate practice? What was your deliberate practice this week?
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